Mzwandile Stick is backing scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies to make a big impact on debut against the Wallabies at Ellis Park. JON CARDINELLI in Johannesburg reports.
Rassie Erasmus will announce his 23-man side to face the Wallabies at 3pm on Wednesday. The Bok coach is also expected to name a 15-man group that will travel to New Zealand a few days earlier than the rest of the squad.
Faf de Klerk is likely to be among the first-choice players selected for early departure. Given that there are only two other scrumhalves in the squad, one can deduce that Jantjies and Cobus Reinach will both feature in the 23 against Australia at Ellis Park.
It remains to be seen who will wear the No 9 jersey in De Klerk’s absence. Reinach looks set for his first Test appearance since 2015. Jantjies, who has been the form local scrumhalf in recent months, could make his debut.
According the the Bok backline coach, Saturday’s game should mark the first of many for the Stormers star.
‘Life is all about opportunities,’ Stick said, when he was asked about Jantjies at the Bok team hotel on Tuesday. ‘The boy was given a chance by the Stormers and he grabbed it with both hands.
‘I remember watching him getting an opportunity at the end of 2018 when the Stormers were already out of contention. He did very well. I’ve been following him closely ever since.
‘Look at how consistent he’s been this season. The one thing about him is that he is very clinical in terms of his basic skills. He’s got a good pass and when the opportunity to arises, he will snipe and score brilliant tries.
‘He’s not a big guy, but he makes the big tackles. That shows he’s in a good mental space,’ Stick added, before making a bold prediction.
‘He’s got the potential to become one of the great scrumhalves in our country. I’m glad that he’s part of our squad and hopefully he will get a chance on Saturday.’
Elton Jantjies is expected to start at No 10, although Erasmus does have another flyhalf option in veteran Frans Steyn. There’s a strong chance that the two Jantjieses – Herschel and Elton – will play in tandem at Ellis Park.
‘If you look at their respective styles of play, I think they complement one another,’ said Stick. ‘Herschel has got a great service from the base, and we all know that on a good day Elton Jantjies can really destroy teams when he’s getting front-foot ball.
‘If they get an opportunity this week, they should be able to give us a solid game. Elton and Frans Steyn are both senior players who will offer support to the younger guys.’
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